No Ego Allowed


Here we are in the midst of Fall with Winter just hovering around the corner.  This time of year is precious to me because I am in the final count down for working on any furniture.  Sanding, stripping, bondo repairs, priming and painting are just so much easier when I can work outside with good ventilation.  The process is cleaner and safer.

So, for the past several weekends, I have spent pretty much any free time sanding, stripping, priming and painting.  I have something to confess.  Working on furniture is tough on the ego.  Seriously.  Talk about things NOT going right.  At the end of these days I find myself questioning if this is a good use of my time.  I question my abilities.  Sometimes, I question my sanity.

For example, a recent piece needed to be stripped.  I spent eight hours yesterday stripping it twice. I used two different strippers because I was taking off a varnish and the first stripper wasn’t working. I wiped it down with denatured alcohol.  Then I stripped it again and wiped it down with mineral spirits.  Y’all, I was so discouraged.  My entire body was sore and this darn piece of furniture looked nothing like it should.

By the end of the day, I wanted to burn the whole thing.  Just have a giant bonfire.

Anyway, cooler minds prevailed.  As I checked on the piece this morning and I found that – yup- it truly looks as bad as I thought it did – I realized that I may just need a different approach.  That finish is not coming off without a serious fight.  I’m not sure I have the time and energy to invest in this battle.  More to the point, I am not sure it makes good economic sense because I could be working on some other pieces.

These experiences are pretty tough on an ego.  As in, just forget having an ego.  Refurbishing furniture will humble you.  You will doubt yourself.  You will doubt your judgement.  You will doubt your abilities. It will make you feel three feet tall.

Having said that, the process also makes you smarter and more confident.  It educates you. You develop a sixth sense for what will work and what won’t work. There is something rewarding about my ego being torn down and then slowly being reconstituted.  Something rewarding when at the end of the process I can say to myself: “I knew it could look like this”.

You may have noticed there are no photos of the furniture I am working on.  Truthfully, the photos were quite unattractive.  You see rakes, a snowblower and garbage cans in the back of the photos.  Not to mention the pieces themselves just don’t look that great.  (Bonfire anyone?)  So, I leave with this quote which is my inspiration for the day.

We are all a masterpiece in progress.

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